(Hong Kong, 29 August 2022) Water World Ocean Park is extending a warm welcome to everyone for the most inclusive splashy adventure this summer. This heart-warming invite comes on the back of Water World Ocean Park being certified by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) as a Certified Autism Center™ (CAC). The certification makes Hong Kongers’ favorite water park a proven inclusive, accessible, and sensory-friendly facility for adventurers with autism or other sensory sensitivities.
The Park had partnered with non-governmental organizations to invite over 200 guests, including autistic individuals and their caregivers, to enjoy Water World last month to share this exceptional achievement.
Water World is a welcoming space for adventurers with different entertainment needs and interests. Surrounded by a verdant landscape and natural wonders, Water World boasts an expansive environment for adventurers with sensory challenges to explore nature. The Park strives to give everyone ample opportunities for quality playtime and one-of-a-kind experiences that will refresh their body and mind while they stay socially engaged.
“Socialisation is a critical part of growing up for all children, but those on the autistic spectrum often find it an intimidating proposition. At the same time, their caregivers – the parents – also experience stress when they cannot address their children’s socialisation needs. We knew that a secure, refreshing yet controlled environment where these families could spend quality time and children could bond with neurodivergent and neurotypical peers was a pressing need in our society. So, we invited IBCCES to assess our facilities and provide expert recommendations and staff training to make Water World an inclusive space for all families,” said Ivan Wong, Chief Executive of Ocean Park Corporation.
Research has found that many autistic and sensory-sensitive individuals do not react well to change, and their families may find it challenging to visit places of entertainment due to the lack of flexible options. Thanks to an enthralling mix of facilities designed with different levels of stimulation, and a complete set of Sensory Guides provided by IBCCES that rates the level of stimulation to each of the five senses on a scale of 1 to 10, adventurers can experience water excitement in a way that feels secure and predictable.
“In addition to the sensory guides available for reference, we have included comprehensive information on the Water World Ocean Park website for different types of adventurers to comfortably plan and prepare for their trip. We have also made it easy for them to know what to expect and make special enquiries or ask for help, as our staff has been trained to understand the specific needs and preferences of this segment from the guests’ perspective,” explained Bryan Fish, Executive Director for Water World.
As an expert in children with special needs, Victor Ching, Registered Psychologist, Hong Kong and Chartered Psychologist, United Kingdom, provided some helpful tips to parents on how to best enjoy the offerings at Water World with their children on the autism spectrum.
“Stimulation from the environment is critical for children’s development because they acquire knowledge about the world through different senses. However, some autistic individuals could be oversensitive to the environment. They need guidance to adapt to the environment progressively. Parents and caregivers will now have access to sensory guides to the various locations at Water World, which inform them about aspects like noise from the facilities and screams from other visitors. They will have the opportunity to start their journey in relatively less noisy areas and proceed to other exciting areas later on their trip,” commented Ching.
“We are thrilled to designate Water World Ocean Park Hong Kong as the first autism-certified water park in Asia. We look forward to working with the Park as they continue their accessibility journey to provide the best experience for all visitors,” said IBCCES Board Chairman Myron Pincomb. “We hope Water World’s dedication and commitment are a catalyst for other travel and entertainment groups in the region to consider taking this next step towards inclusion.”
About Ocean Park Hong Kong
Ocean Park is Hong Kong’s unique home-grown theme park with a heritage of delivering family fun and fond memories. Since its opening in January 1977 as a non-profit organization, Ocean Park has developed itself into a world-class attraction connecting people with nature. It has gained consistent recognition for its extraordinary experiences, conservation and education work, and relationship with the community. The Park has successfully transformed into a premier international resort destination with the launches of Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel in October 2018 and Water World Ocean Park Hong Kong in September 2021, and the soft opening of The Fullerton Ocean Park Hotel Hong Kong in July 2022. For more information, please visit oceanpark.com.hk and waterworld.oceanpark.com.hk.
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